Although yesterday’s birthday post was brief, that was due more to the fact that it was past 11 (my bedtime) than to the number of things I had to say. I’ve actually been thinking a ton about my small boy.
All my life, I’ve wanted babies. Babies, babies, babies. The kind that stay cuddled up in your arms, eat nothing but milk, and make small, precious noises. I wanted to be pregnant, feel the baby kick, wash tiny baby clothes, knit tiny baby sweaters, and have an unstoppable urge to wrap things like burritos. So when I got pregnant, I was thrilled. It was a pretty simple pregnancy, and I enjoyed the HECK out of it. I still miss it.
And when Theo was born, of course I loved him to bits. I did the whole staring at him in disbelief, taking naps with him snuggled on my chest, the sleepless nights, and all things newborn. But if I’m being 100% honest, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I thought I would. I’m pretty sure that a lot of that was due to hormones and sleep deprivation (it’s hard to enjoy much of anything when you can hardly stay awake during it). But as Theo got older, it started getting better. Each new phase seems better than the last–he’s doing more things, with purpose, being more of a small person, and I LOVE watching it. I love it in a way that I can’t remember loving his tiny-ness (although, let’s face it, he was never that tiny…) or the newborn fog. We got him a ring-stacking toy for his birthday, and although he’s not very good at it, he is so absolutely determined and patient. I actually get a real thrill watching him, hoping, cheering him on.
I love the way he’ll set any sock he finds on the nearest available foot, and he somehow learned where his head is, though we never taught him. He stubbornly refuses to learn Mama and Papa (which we tirelessly try to teach him). I can see things happening in that little-boy head, and it’s breath-taking.
I used to be really disappointed that I wasn’t enjoying being a mom as much as I always imagined I would. And I didn’t–at first. But now, I’m accepting the fact that yes, I enjoy the small boy things more than I enjoyed the baby things, and while it’s not what I expected, it’s absolutely fine.
It’s almost like how I always thought I’d like strong cheese–and be sophisticated and all that. And now that I’ve tried it–many times, in many different forms, I hate it. And it’s a bit disappointing, not liking something that I thought I’d really like. However, I’ve discovered that I do really like strong mustard and green olives, which I previously didn’t think I’d like. That kind of cushions the blow, and reminds me that for every thing that I don’t love, there’s something I do.
As much as I was disappointed over the fact that I didn’t enjoy every minute of the newborn phase–nor am I likely to next time, I’m reassured, realizing that this early-toddler phase–a point where I assumed I’d mourn his babiness, his dependency, and other things I’d never get back–is really awesome. My days are happier, faster, and chock full of laughter (from both of us). I’m happier, I feel like I’m a better mom than I’ve ever felt before, and I’m kept on my toes–never knowing when he’ll completely blow my mind next. Now is the best.